Gather ’round, children, and let me tell you a tale of pure and undying love. The kind of love that only happens once in a lifetime. Once upon a time, a time long before COVID-19 destroyed life as we know it, there were two lost souls, swimming in a fish bowl, year after year. On a magical night back in October 2012, at magical dive bar, which no longer exists, called the “Trash Bar”, in the epicenter of the hipster universe, Williamsburg Brooklyn, these two souls collided in what would be the most epic, truthful, and deepest connection, in the history of mankind… no love like this has ever existed before, and will never exist again.
Meet Billy Desert:
- Height: 5’6″
- Weight: 92 lbs.
Billy Desert’s Likes:
- Collecting and using crystals for healing powers, good vibes, to ward off negative energy, and to boost energy levels
- Practicing and studying witchcraft
- Hooping at festivals, raves, on rooftops, and in public parks
- Smoking weed multiple times a day
- Making her own clothes out of recycled materials
- Holistic medicines
- Non-holistic medicine (adderall, xanax, coke, ecstasy)
- Talking about conspiracies; especially chem-trails and pizza gate
- Juice fasts, or just water fasts
- Burning Man and her Burning Man family
- Reading people’s tarot cards
- Using veganism and her “alleged” allergies to gluten, soy, and nuts as a cover to hide the fact that she hasn’t had a hot meal in years
- Stick and poke tattoos
Billy Desert’s Dislikes:
- Being bloated (which happens easily when you’re only 92 lbs.)
- People who eat animals/animal products
- People who hate on her white-girl dreads
- People who hate on her white-girl, crystal, stick-on bindi(s)
- Food (apart from pickles, because they have zero calories and baby food, because it’s easily digestible)
- Political discussions (she doesn’t watch news and she won’t vote because the whole world is a big conspiracy and she doesn’t want to be a part of the system)
- Anything that is NOT organic (*** with the exception of the tri-monthly Botox and Juviderm injections, and the Gortex lip implants she got at age 27)
Billy was a 25-year-old old earthling, hailing from Newburgh, NY. Billy grew up on a commune called ‘Children of the Sun’, with five parents (three moms, two dads) and 26 brothers and sisters. She always knew that there was something better waiting out there for her, beyond the polygamy and sexist views of the elders in her cult. And so, on the eve of her 25th birthday, one night before she was due to wed the cult leader in a polygamist, “flower” ceremony, Billy Desert packed her backpack with the few belongings that she had (a bible, a glass pipe, her magic crystals, and her 5 different color saris), and hopped the Greyhound bus to Port Authority, NYC. She was on a ‘walk-about’ to discover her true self and her purpose in this world. She was a woman coming into her own. Billy arrived in NYC with $180, a heart full of love, and a soul full of gratitude, for the places she had been and the places she was going. She didn’t have a resume or any work experience, but she met a another free-spirit after her bus docked at Port of Authority and she was wandering around trying to find the exit. Billy Desert crossed paths with a meth addict named Britney Amber on that fateful night. Looking for the exit to the street, Billy approached Britney to ask for directions. Britney complimented her on her crystal necklaces and multi-color dreads, which she had decorated with scraps of fabric and tiny flower clips. The two hit it off like two old friends. In need of a place to stay, and in need of quick money, Billy took Britney up on her offer to crash at her place, which happened to be only a couple of blocks away, after Britney learned that Billy had just arrived to NYC and had no real plan.
Britney’s place was a real crack den. Think: “Members Only, circa 2015.” It was a five-story walk up on 38th street and 8th Ave., which she shared with three other roommates – a dealer named Sid, a gay hairdresser who introduced himself as Starr, and two twins from Bratislava, named Ginger and Natasha, who also had matching dreads and septum piercings – both girls were dancers at New York Dolls and Sapphire.
The apartment was 4 bedrooms, one bath, and smelled of weed and cigarette smoke… it was pretty filthy, but it would do for the night. Britney offered to hook Billy up with a job at Pumps, where she worked as a dancer, but Billy didn’t think she’d be right for the job. Britney then suggested she try out as a go-go dancer with Team Kitty Koalition – she had a few friends in the group and thought that with her look, Billy would be a perfect fit.
The next afternoon, Billy auditioned to dance with Team Kitty Koalition and was hired on the spot. The job situation was looking up.
Meet O’Kieran River:
- Height: 5’11”
- Weight: 162 lbs.
O’Kieran River’s Likes:
- The anxious excitement of waiting for your dealer to ring the doorbell
- That first line of cocaine
- The shit you have to take, when the first line of cocaine kicks in
- Rolling at home/rolling anywhere
- Studying and practicing Buddhism
- Burning Man
- She-male porn
- Shooting trap
- Veganism (but only because his girlfriend does it)
- Lying to his parents and family and friends about his “sobriety”
- Stick and poke tattoos
- Depeche Mode
- Anything by William S. Burroughs
- Anything by the Cohen brothers
O’Kieran River’s Dislikes:
- When the drugs run out
- The day(s) following a drug binge
- When someone uses your drugs and doesn’t compensate you or make up for it at a later date
- Women over the age of 28
- Women over 110 lbs.
O’Kieran River was a spoiled, trust-fund-baby, hailing from a rich, Texas oil family. He was 28 and had been living in Williamsburg, BK for almost four years when he met Billy Dessert on that fateful night in October 2012. He was fresh out of his 3rd stint in rehab for stimulant addiction (cocaine, in this case), but he was determined not to relapse this time and let his entire family down (again). Picture, if you will, a young Pete Doherty; now, picture Perry Farrell from Jane’s Addiction: O’Kieran is what the lovechild between P. Doherty and P. Farrell would look like, if two men could create a baby. He was long and lean, and covered in random tattoos. He had shaggy, dark brown, shoulder length hair, which was constantly getting in his face. He had perpetual, dark circles under his eyes from the years of drug-use and late nights, and he had the most perfect, luscious pout.
Having just completed a 30-day rehabilitation program, O’Kieran returned home to his Berry Street apartment from Promises, Malibu, feeling not-quite-exactly-himself. He had gained 27 lbs. on his usually emaciated frame, and was feeling fat, undesirable, and hopelessly un-cool. If he didn’t have drugs as a crutch anymore, who was he? If he couldn’t fit into size 29 skinny jeans, than what was his purpose on this earth???
He was wondering exactly this, sitting alone on his apartment couch and drinking a seltzer water at 9pm, when his roommate, Stefano, burst into the door. “My MAN! Welcome home, buddy!” he said as he gave O’Kieran a bear hug that lasted a full minute. “Thank God you’re home… life has been SO SO boring without you here. Can we please go out tonight and celebrate your home coming? I’ve missed you so much these last couple of months.” “Well, I planned on staying in tonight. You know, going out isn’t exactly conducive to my sobriety plan.” The fact was, that O’Kieran didn’t give a shit about breaking his sobriety… he was more concerned and self-conscious about his newly formed love handles and the fact that he could no long fit into his size 29 skinny jeans. He also didn’t know how to socialize without alcohol or drugs. “Come on! I scored us some super premium blow from this new dealer I found while you were gone! I’ve been saving it for a special occasion!”. “Stefano – you do realize that I was gone for four weeks because I was in rehab, right? My parents will cut me off for good if I start using again after they just spent $60K on rehab. Plus, I’m not really feeling myself after gaining almost 30 lbs., you know what I mean??” Stefano responded, “Ahhh, come on man! You don’t look fat at all! You look healthy!!!” “Healthy??? HEALTHY?!! Brother – they took away my drugs and made me eat three meals a day. I can’t even look at myself naked in the mirror right now! You think I look healthy, but I know that’s just a euphemism for obese…. I wasn’t born yesterday.”
After an hour of convincing, pleading with, and downright begging him, Stefano finally got O’Kieran to agree to a night out on the town. “Please promise that you won’t give me any blow. I don’t care how drunk I get and how much I beg you… you cannot let me have any …. not even a bump. OK??” “OK – I promise! You won’t be touching my stash tonight. Furthermore, I will not let you out of my sight, and you won’t be doing any drugs at all under my watch!”
And so it was, that O’Kieran borrowed a pair of Stefanos size 32 skinny jeans (which he had to squeeze into) regretfully buttoned up his finest, second-hand vest, and headed out into the night with Stefano. They hit up their favorite haunt, The Levee, first. O’Kieran had a PBR and shot of Jameson, as did his friend, and then around midnight, they headed over to the Trash Bar to watch one of Stefano’s friend’s band perform.
On the 8 minute walk from the Levee to the Trash Bar, O’Kieran deeply contemplated whether or not it was a wise choice to have gone out that night. He contemplated his choice to wear a suit vest with nothing under it, now that he had man-titties and a belly, and he contemplated his decision to have unprotected sex with an alcoholic he’d met in rehab. He also wondered what the point of living was, now that he no longer had drugs to look forward to. Just thinking about the fact that he was not supposed to be doing them, made him yearn to inhale that sweet, gasoline-infused scent of cocaine deep into his nostrils, and lust after the acrid taste of molly on the back of his tongue. Drinking just wasn’t going to cut it. He was fat enough as is and did NOT need the extra calories from alcohol. He needed to get skinny again, and the only way to do this was by indulging in a little nose candy. He had already made up his mind by the time they stepped into the disgusting dive bar that was The Trash Bar… he was going to get FUCKED UP.
O’Keiran didn’t want to get fucked up for the sake of getting fucked up, and he sure as hell didn’t want to ruin his $60K sobriety. What he did want, was to forget how uncomfortable he felt in his own skin with the extra baggage he’d acquired, and he also wanted to forget how fucking awkward he felt while he was sober and around people he didn’t know in a party-setting. And so, he proceeded to drink the following:
- 2 Margaritas with no salt
- 1 Vodka soda
- 2 shots of fireball
- 2 PBRs
- 2 shots of Jameson
To say he was trashed does not nearly begin to describe the elevated level of intoxication he found himself him. He was stumbling about, making fun of people to their faces, making friends in the bathroom, and singing along with the live band on stage in the back room of the bar, even though he didn’t know any of the lyrics. He was being a straight-up asshole and causing poor Stefano to have a shitty night out, since Stefano now had to look after O’Kieran instead of doing bumps of coke in the bathroom, which is what the game plan had been. And of course, O’Kieran hit that wall where all he could think about in his drunken, blacked-out mind was getting his hands on drugs, whatever the cost. He tried to scroll through the contacts in his phone, but remembered that he had deleted all of his dealers upon entering rehab. He asked around the dark and crowded bar, seeking out individuals that he thought were high, doing drugs, or looked like the kind of people who would know where to score. “Hey mate, you know where I can find some blow?! NO? What about K? MDMA? I’ll take anything that’s not weed!” No one wanted to share with him though…. he was a total liability at that point.
After an hour and a half of asking everyone in the bar, O’Kieran finally found a guy who had and was willing to give him an ecstasy pill in exchange for just a drink at the bar. What a great price to pay! O’Kieran bought the man Johnny Walker blue on the rocks and a bottle of water for himself. “Cheers!” O’Kieran said, as he clinked his plastic water bottle against his newfound friend’s tumbler of whiskey. And with that, he popped the redbull-stamped, red pill and washed it down with a generous gulp of water. O’Kieran turned his back on the bar and his friend to watch the stage for a moment. “This is turning out to be one of the most fun nights I’ve had in a long time!” He turned around with a drunken, shit-eating grin on his face, but his friend had disappeared.
He supposed it was time to find Stefano anyhow… they had been separated for a good 45 minutes at this point. O’Keiran scanned the crowded bar, but it was dark and loud and he was too drunk to actually focus. He decided to just take a walk around the venue while he waited for the drugs to come up… that was always a good idea. He moved through the crowd with his water bottle in hand. A new band was on stage and they sounded like the poor man’s version of The Strokes. As he passed the bar again, O’Keiran reached over and grabbed a couple of plastic stir sticks. He held onto one and began to chew it ever so gently, and then increasingly so with fury. FUCK. The drugs were coming up, and they were coming up faster than he had anticipated. The lights began to play tricks on him, and everything looked a bit dodgier in the dark. The music, which had been nothing to write home about an hour prior, suddenly took on a new and interesting beat… he was really digging it, and began to move in time to the beat while he closed his eyes and smiled to no one but himself. Smiled to life. Sure he was plumper than he wanted to be, and he’d just broken his promise of sobriety, but you know what? Life was beautiful. Life was so good and so beautiful in that moment, that nothing else mattered.
O’Keiran was rolling pretty hard at this point, in a sea of mostly drunk people, so at least no one seemed to notice his shifty eyes or the perma-grin plastered to his face. He wanted to sit down and rest for a bit, but there was no comfortable area to do so, and so he decided he’d better continue to look for Stefano. He was walking straight through the crowd, approaching the stage, when he saw what looked to be a angel dancing under a purple light from the stage. His heart almost stopped as he gazed upon her beauty – she . white-girl dreads, crystals on her face, and was absolutely emaciated… just his type. He decided to approach: “Hello m’lady” he said, as he sidled up next to her swaying to the music. She leaned her head back, smiling ear to ear under the purple glow of the lights and moving her body from side to side. “Hello good sir! How are you tonight?” she said, smiling as she leaned towards him to be heard over the music. She introduced herself as Billy Dessert
They made small talk and instantly hit if off as they danced together in front of the stage. “I think I need to find a place to sit for a moment,” O’Keiran said after about 30 minutes of dancing, and he took Billy’s hand in his own and led her through the crowd, into the front part of the venue. They took a seat on the old, destroyed car seats that the bar had installed along one wall for patrons to rest on. It was a bit brighter here than it had been back by the stage, and as Billy took in O’Keiran’s face fully, she exclaimed “Oh my God, you’re so rolling balls right now, aren’t you?!” O’Keiran’s smile was like the Cheshire Cat… “Caught me!” he said. Just then, Stefano appeared, looming above them with his hands in fists against his hips. “Jesus, O’Keiran! I’ve been looking for you for the past hour! You could have texted me and told me you were up front!” Stefano looked down at O’Keiran, who’s eyes were shifting back and forth and who had that unmistakable grin, that Stefano knew only too well at this point. “Oh no…. oh no, you didn’t. What the fuck???? You told me you weren’t doing drugs tonight!” O’Keiran quipped back: “I mean, you brought me HERE and expected that I would keep my word?”. “I never should have let you out of my sight… ” Stefano, only then realizing that O’Keiran was sitting with a girl, and an attractive one at that, introduced himself. “I hope he hasn’t been causing you any trouble.. he’s harmless really. Just a bit of a mess.” “Oh no, we’ve been getting along just splendidly! I’m happy he found me – or that I found him.”
After a few minutes of chit chat, the three of them decided to bounce and check out a Resolute party that was happening in Bushwick. They hailed a cab and climbed into the back seat, where it was agreed that they needed to procure more drugs, so Stefano and Billy could be as high as O’Keiran, who was currently sandwiched between the two of them in the back seat, with his eyes closed, smile on his face, and lolling his head about. He was in another dimension… Stefano, always one to think ahead, texted a couple of friends to see if anyone had extra E to spare when they arrived. Luckily he found someone to hook them up.
The three of them were soon high as fuck. Stefano wandered off with a group of friends he met when they arrived at the party, and Billy and O’Keiran were once again by themselves. After dancing for a bit, while Billy waited for her drugs to come up, the two wandered through the crowd looking for a place to sit on the perimeters of the dance floor. They found a semi-quiet spot near the bathrooms, and sunk onto a couch in the dim light. They talked for the next three hours, intermittently getting up to walk around, dance for a bit, or to grab water from the bar. It was like they were meant to be – meant to meet on this night, when neither one of them had wanted to go out in the first place. Total kismet.
They were so enamored by each other, that when the party ended at 6am, they decided to forego after hours, and go back to O’Keiran’s place. They walked back all the way from Bushwick, the sun was up and they were now rolling in broad daylight, as they made their way back, but they didn’t care. The only people in the world right now seemed to be them. On the walk back to Williamsburg, Billy told O’Keiran all about growing up in, and subsequently leaving, the cult in Newburgh. He was fascinated. The more she shared about herself, the more he wanted to know. At the same time, he felt like he’d known her forever. They arrived back to O’Keiran’s empty apartment around 8am (Stefano went to afters). O’Keiran showed Billy his impressive record collection and at 11:10am, Billy told O’Keiran “I love you.” He said it back, and then they made out.
Billy moved into O’Keiran’s room the following week and the two began a tumultuous relationship, fueled by drugs, sex and rock n’ roll. It was all O’Keiran had ever dreamed of, in a “Requiem for a Dream” sort of way. The kind of relationship that someone who glamorizes drugs will actively seek out or cosmically attract. After O’Keiran’s parents found out he’d broken his sobriety, they cut him off financially. Billy became a cam girl to support them and to pay rent. And so they lived, happily ever after, either in a state of other-worldly highness, or fighting over O’Keiran’s lack of work.
One thought on “The Ballad of O’Kieran River and Billy Desert”
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